Using Bacteria to Store Renewable Energy (Text Version)

Nov. 17, 2017 | Contact media relations

Learn how NREL is partnering with SoCalGas and Electrochea to test a new bioreactor. The system will convert unused renewable energy into natural gas for later use.

This is a text version of the video entitled "Using Bacteria to Store Renewable Energy."

Bacteria from some of the Earth's harshest environments now have a new home at NREL.

[A natural spring has steam coming off the top]

A new bioreactor was delivered to the lab's campus in Golden, Colorado.

[A crane and trucks are on the NREL campus outside the Energy Systems Integration Facility— ESIF]

It's 25 feet tall, and the main tank is big enough to hold 200 gallons of liquid.

[A closer shot shows the bioreactor on the NREL campus with the crane, along with men in hard hats on the job site]

The system will use these hardy bacteria to convert hydrogen and carbon dioxide to natural gas (methane).

[A long shot of the bioreactor shows it is being lifted by the crane while men in hard hats work on the job site]

The goal is to store unused energy from wind and solar

[White wind turbines are in a green field]

Power plants that might otherwise be wasted.

The unused energy will make hydrogen, which the bacteria convert to natural gas.

[Time-lapse footage shows the installation site of the bioreactor]

The gas can be burned for energy, as needed.

The bioreactor is a partnership between

[People wearing hard hats stand around the installed bioreactor, while the camera closes in]

NREL, the Southern California Gas Company, and Electrochaea.

It's the first carbon-free, power-to-gas system to be tested in the United States.

[NREL's logo and website URL, appear onscreen]